Top 20 Reba McEntire Songs
Reba McEntire songs are some of the most important and popular of the last several decades of country music. She has created one of the most successful careers in the genre by choosing to record some of the best songs in country music, in a wide array of styles.
McEntire has had such a long and varied career that it’s impossible to encompass her best work in a Top 10 list, so we were forced to list her Top 20 songs instead. From her early, more traditional-sounding songs to her later, more cutting-edge and modern material, this list of the Top 20 Reba McEntire Songs draws from every era of her legendary career.
“Rumor Has It”
Two-timers, beware! The title track of McEntire’s 15th studio album, this 1990 hit has the singer playing the part of a jilted lover, singing, “I wouldn’t have believed my ears, but I see it in your eyes / Those stories going ’round this town aren’t lies.” Her delivery is so convincing, we want to give the philanderer a piece of our minds, too. Written by Bruce Burch, Vern Dant and Larry Shell, the song reached No. 3 in the charts in February of 1991.
“Turn on the Radio”
The lead single from 2010’s All the Women I Am, McEntire felt so passionate about this hit, she called the writers (Mark Oakley, Cherie Oakley and J.P. Twang) herself to request permission to record it. Singing to her misbehaving beau, “Don’t you come crawlin’ begging please on your knees, baby if you’re missin’ me / Well you can hear me on the radio,” it’s the perfect song for a woman who has graced the airwaves for 35 years. The song was yet another in a long list of No. 1 hits for McEntire.
“The Fear of Being Alone”
Longtime fans of the scarlet-haired superstar will remember this 1996 song for reasons other than its catchy melody and lyrics that celebrate independence: Its video introduced McEntire with a new, short hairdo, replacing her trademark long locks. Written by Walt Aldridge and Bruce Miller, the song reached No. 2 in the country charts, and qualifies as one of the Top 20 Reba McEntire Songs.
“How Was I to Know”
This 1996 song serves as a breakup pick-me-up. Lines like “How was I to know I would be this strong / I had what it takes all along / How was I to know” remind us that sometimes walking away really is the best solution. Written by top Nashville writer Stephony Smith with Cathy Majeski and Sonny Russ, “How Was I to Know” reached No. 1 in March of 1997.
Love is in the air in this 2004 smash (which also showed up on Mark Wills‘ album Loving Every Minute). “Somebody in the next car, somebody on the mornin’ train / Somebody in the coffee shop that you walk right by every day” gives single people everywhere hope that Mr. or Mrs. Right could be right around the corner. Written by Dave Berg with Sam and Annie Tate, the song reached No. 1 in August of 2004.
“The Last One to Know”
Betrayal is heard loud and clear in this 1987 chart-topper. “It would be easier to face the mornin’ / If you were holding me tight / But you left me without a warning / Holding on to a heartache while she’s holdin’ you tight” is all we need to give all our sympathy to the one sleeping alone. Written by Matraca Berg and Jane Mariash, “The Last One to Know” was the first single from the album of the same name, and became McEntire’s ninth No. 1 hit.
“Consider Me Gone”
McEntire’s 24th No. 1 hit proves country stardom isn’t only for youngsters. Her vocal prowess and flawless delivery, plus no-holds-barred lines like “If you don’t get drunk on my kiss / If you think you can do better than this / Consider me gone,” kept this song at the top of the charts for four straight weeks … when McEntire was 54 years young. Written by Steve Diamond and Marv Green, the song was McEntire’s second release for Valory Music, a sister label of Big Machine.
“Take It Back”
“You’re bringin’ home flowers and a bottle of Chablis / You forgot I don’t drink wine, I know that bottle’s not for me” sums up the accusatory tone that makes this 1992 song one of McEntire’s most memorable. Choosing to face the former lover’s illicit behavior head on, the singer’s bravery shines through in this Top 5 hit, which was written by Kristy Jackson and deserves a spot in the Top 20 Reba McEntire Songs.
“Every Other Weekend”
“Every Other Weekend” was originally with Kenny Chesney for the 2008 Reba: Duets album, but the country superstar’s vocals were replaced by those of one of the song’s writers, Skip Ewing, for the song’s radio release. Ewing wrote the tune with Connie Harrington. The emotionally charged video depicts two divorced parents (played by McEntire’s Reba sitcom co-stars, Joanna Garcia and Steve Howey) tearfully trading their kids on the weekend.
This 1986 song is proof positive that there’s no price tag on love. Choosing to trade in a life of luxury for the hope of finding “someone who cares a lot,” Reba slips off her diamond and walks away from the finer things, saying, “But when he finds this ring he’ll see / He keeps everything but me.” Written by Bob DiPiero, Pat McManus and famed radio personality Gerry House, the second single from Whoever’s in New England reached No. 1 in the Billboard country charts.
“Because of You”
American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson wrote and first recorded this hit in 2005, before Reba turned it into a duet two years later with the young singing sensation. This CMA- and Grammy-nominated song serves as a cautionary reminder of the dangers of staying in a harmful relationship: “Because of you, I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me / Because of you I am afraid.”
We don’t find it strange at all that this was McEntire’s highest chart debut of her career; after all, it’s a powerful song about being pleasantly surprised by an un-broken heart. We applaud the resilience shown in this 2009 hit, which features lines like “Strange, I ought to be in bed / With my head in the pillow crying over us, but I ain’t / Ain’t love strange.” Written by Wendell Mobley, Jason Sellers and Neil Thrasher, “Strange” was McEntire’s first release for the Valory label, reaching No. 11 in the Billboard charts.
“The Heart Won’t Lie”
A powerful duet combining the flawless vocals of McEntire and Vince Gill, this 1993 song captures the emotions of former flames reliving the past almost 20 years later. Written by “Bette Davis Eyes” singer Kim Carnes and Donna Terry Weiss, “The Heart Won’t Lie” was originally meant to be a duet with Kenny Rogers. Instead, Gill and McEntire took the song to No. 1 for two consecutive weeks.
“Whoever’s in New England”
This 1985 song speaks of forgiveness without an apology. Crying foul at her husband’s thinly veiled disguise of doing business in Boston, McEntire painfully reminds him that he’ll “always have a place to come home to / When whoever’s in New England’s through with you.” Written by Kendal Franceschi and Quentin Powers, the title song and first single from Whoever’s in New England reached No. 1, and earned McEntire a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
“If You See Him, If You See Her”
McEntire recorded this duet with Brooks & Dunn, and it became the title track for both of their 1998 albums. The song is a painful saga of two lovers who both regret saying goodbye. Written by Terry McBride, Jennifer Kimball and Tommy Lee James, the song was released by both artist’s labels — scoring them both a No. 1 song.
“The Greatest Man I Never Knew”
This 1992 hit is one of the most poignant in McEntire’s legendary career. Written by Richard Leigh and Layng Martine Jr., the song tells the all-too-familiar story of a daughter longing for a father’s love. It’s the final lines, “He was good at business, but there was business left to do / He never said he loved me, guess he thought I knew,” that make us want to reach out to our own loved ones. The song reached No. 3 in the Billboard country charts.
“I’m a Survivor”
Here’s a great song to play when times get tough: “I don’t believe in self-pity / It only brings you down / I may be the queen of broken hearts / But I don’t hide behind the crown.” Written by Shelby Kennedy and Phillip White, this 2001 hit not only landed on the country and pop charts, it also became the theme song for McEntire’s sitcom, Reba. That alone earns it a spot in the Top 20 Reba McEntire Songs.
“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”
Actress Vicki Lawrence first recorded this song in the early ’70s. It was written by her then-husband, Bobby Russell, and became a No. 1 hit. It was later the basis of a film starring Dennis Quaid. McEntire’s 1991 performance brought the classic back to life. A tale that combines adultery, corruption and murder, we don’t learn until the last verse that it’s the little sister (and the song’s narrator) who got away with the crime.
“Does He Love You”
McEntire recorded this 1993 No. 1 hit with her then-backup singer, Linda Davis, despite her label’s initial resistance about using an unknown vocalist on the duet. Throughout the tale of two women in love with the same man, they both question which woman he loves the most convincingly enough to earn them a Grammy and a CMA.
“Fancy” was written and originally recorded by Bobbie Gentry in 1969, but McEntire’s 1991 remake is still considered one of her best — and bravest — songs to date. A story of a rags-to-riches young woman who earns a living on the streets, McEntire sings, “I might have been born just plain white trash / But Fancy was my name.” It’s one of her trademark hits, and tops our list of the Top 20 Reba McEntire Songs.